The truth is more than 70% of our population lives in or around metro areas. With this many people in a concentrated in a small area in additional to the man-made structures that fill this space getting out of the city is going to be a better option for most people. In an emergency the city is not the place to be with the panic, chaos and masses of people found there.
The question is; what we can do to survive until the situation improves? Do we move or hunker down? Live on the rooftops or in the subway/sewer? Maybe we try to get more rural and move to the forest?
If you’re like most people hunkering down will be your choice. Hunkering down mean this is your end game; your survival journey ends here. You’ll be outnumbered, stationary and stuck trying to make your last defense. You will fight for what you have for the rest of your days.
Maybe you would like to take to the streets. Living as a nomad, never staying in one spot for long and scavenging what you can day-to-day. This could work, it’s more of a gamble than some would like. Eventually you’ll open the wrong door or someone will find where you sleep and that will put an end to your maverick ways.
As we have discussed before bugging out may be the best option. If you don’t have someplace familiar to get to you will still have the forest. You can stay there, get set-up and commute back and forth from camp to city for supplies. At the very least the forest gives you options.
At first glance this may seem counter-intuitive. After all, the city affords quite a few things the forest will not. There may be food and water in these abandoned buildings and they certainly offer more shelter than what you might be able to build in the forest. Why would I give that all up?
People – People will be the real dangerous wild animals out there. It’s not the city or what is can or cannot provide. It’s the gangs, the crazies and the desperate. People are the real danger of a city. It’s not the buildings or lack of amenities. It’s the guy who wants what you have or the new gang that just set up on your street, or the next riot and the fire that comes with it. The list goes on and on.
There is no question; a person can be kind, but people are awful. Groups of people need more to survive and they have their own plans for how to operate and what they want to make their future. They will be dangerous and desperate and chances are they will not be interested in leaving you and your alone.
There are fewer people in the forest and therefore, the forest will be safer. What you need to survive can be learned with most basic survival lessons. Life can go on, if not in a different state, without the mobs, riots and complexities that people bring.
Our first consideration should be is how to get from place to place without being seen. Sometimes you’ll be moving without being seen. At other times you’ll have to move while people are watching, this will be far more often with all the people around. You will want to dress and behave in a manner that does not draw the attention of others, hiding in plain sight.
The expanse of urban travel covers the inner city as well as the outskirts. There will be a large number of homeless living on the streets. These large masses of people can be imposing to be attacked by early gangs. Our best bet to make it through the city is to mix with them and flow to the outskirts.
You will want to avoid during the day if possible. The day is when most people will be active and will also be watching. Try to move at duck and early night. There will still be some ambient light available. After a short time you can risk a flashlight and continue to travel until dawn.
If you find yourself needing sleep in an urban area pick a spot on the second story roof or covered patio. You might find it surprising that most predators, including humans, do not stop or think to look up when hunting. When the weather is bad look to an abandoned building to find the shelter needed when sleeping. As a last resort try your luck blending in with the homeless. Stay on your guard as in this situation everyone is dangerous.
Camouflage for the Streets
Once in the forest you will want to prepare yourself for at least one trip back to the city. You may find that many trips are needed and in that case you’ll want to be prepared with easy to use and change clothing. Remember, that you’re trying to not draw attention to yourself. Pick some clothing that would be at home on the streets, but also work for the forest.
A good pair of neutral colored cargo pants, simple neutral t-shirt a dark pullover and some trail shoes that work well for the forest and the streets. This will be your first layer of protection. You will want to be able to switch to full camouflage once in the forest and out of the city.
Additional Camo Layers
Once back in the forest take a minute to change into an outer layer camo shirt, some gloves and a dark bandana. You’ll want to keep all the colors neutral or full camo that can be found in your area.
The goal is to cover any exposed skin with something that blends in with the natural surroundings. You could go with something like a ghillie suit or pull over camo; these options tend to be heavier and hotter so if the climate is hot this may not be the best option.
If you have camo that will match your natural surroundings you could go the extra mile and equip yourself for the season. It might seem like a luxury, but anything you can do to avoid being seen will protect you, your loved ones, caches and others curiosity.
Finding a good spot and building shelter
You may choose to shelter-in-place, or you may take my recommendation and get out of the city. Some people will be prepared to go to the forest right away and have to go back a few times while others may never have to go back.
If your plan is to stay in the forest permanently push yourself to go out as far as you can. It might be a good idea to build small inconspicuous temporary shelters on your way out; If you ever have the need of coming back in or moving. Make sure you go out far enough not to been seen by the hustle and bustle of the city.
Pay close attention to anything that produces light, sound or visual effects (think smoke from a fire). Once you’ve found the perfect spot make sure to enhance it with foliage that you scavenge *do not clear an area for the foliage. Lastly, burrow into the ground and make it part of your habitation. You can keep a very natural appearance with a burrow in the ground in keeping with the geography.